The Five Most Exciting Greenlit Games
There’s no denying gamers love new things. Now more than ever, it seems, we’re absolutely begging for something fresh. With a new console generation on the horizon, impatience is taking over. We’re dying for new IPs and ideas to shake things up. Good news – while we’re still getting an iteration on Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty from Ubiosoft and Activision every year, there is an alternate source for content we often overlook: indie developers. Even Better news – Steam has got you covered, helping you sift through the chaff to bring you the best of what the industry’s unknown quantities have to offer via the Greenlight program.
I’ve been looking through the titles that received enough votes to get the go-ahead and it has me totally reinvigorated about the remainder of this year in gaming. Let’s take a look at the top five most exciting ideas on Steam Greenlight coming in 2013.
5. Gear Up
While there’s no shortage of multiplayer combat on on PC, Gear Up is aiming to offer up a new kind of fight. Instead of aliens or trained soldiers, this battleground is filled with up to 32 customized robotic tanks with replaceable parts. Are treads boring? Pop on spider legs or wings. Many parts that add up to thousands of possible combinations are unlocked via the completion of challenges. It isn’t just about deathmatch in this war; there are races, tag matches, and other missions to be conquered before they are replaced by others in the rotation. How long a given challenge is available will be decided by popularity.
Whether you have a Mac, Windows, or Linux machine, this game is coming will run on your PC’s architecture and you’ll be able to play with your friends on other platforms. Not many multiplayer games can put that on their list of features. Also, developer Doctor Entertainment is shipping with a level editor and all source content, so you can create all sorts of extra tank parts and challenges, if you’re into that sort of thing. Since it’s still in alpha, I’m not totally convinced it will hit the promised release window this spring. Sign up to help test it, though, and you can already play it in its current form.
If you follow the right people on Twitter, you may have already heard of a free game developed by a team of students at Digipen called Nitronic Rush. This is pretty old news by now, but that game is pretty fun, especially for the low, low price of zero dollars. Anyway, this group of students formed Refract Studios and got funding via Kickstarter to make a spiritual successor called Distance. The important distinction is that this one will have an extremely important feature, one no modern racing game could succeed without – multiplayer.
You see, it’s not just about survival anymore. Now, it’s about making sure you’re friends don’t survive while you do. Or, that’s what I assume, anyway. Sure, there’s also a big open city to explore and a level editor so you can make your own and share it too, but I think the focus is supposed to be throwing your friends over the edge of a track to fall to their doom. Whether we’re playing online, via LAN, or split-screen, that will be my first goal, anyway.
3. Kinetic Void
Playing with buds is fun and all, but sometimes you have to go it alone, even into the cold, seemingly empty void of space. While friends won’t be able to join you in the universe of Kinetic Void (not at first, at least), it will be anything but empty. Warring factions populate a randomly-generated galaxy and you must take your ship, one you get to create and customize for any purpose, and make your own way. You have to be careful who you help and who you hurt as your actions will affect a living world (or group of worlds, rather) with consequences for every decision. If this game is anything close to the super-fleshed-out version of FTL I’m imagining, it could be amazing.
It seems like a large focus of this space sim will be movement and discovery within the galaxy. There is an autopilot mode, but it sounds like there is big focus on direct control of the ship, especially during combat. It seems fights will require some piloting skill, especially for smaller ships that can’t take as much damage. Captains of ships big or small can use more than just strafing maneuvers to inflict damage, though. Asteroids are dangerous to any spacecraft, but if approached correctly, they can be controlled and used as weapons thanks to Badland Studio‘s physics engine. Open world games always have some issues to look past, but if all this is as fun as it sounds, I’m ready to be as forgiving as I need to with this sandbox in space.
I have a confession to make regarding MáK (pronounced with a long a sound), so I’ll get it out of the way upfront. It isn’t coming out this year, so it probably shouldn’t be on this list. It might come out in 2013, but it isn’t likely considering the issues the four-man development team has had, detailed in this interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun (Kickstarter campaigns don’t always work out, even when great ideas are at the core). Probabilities aside, the release date listed on this physics playground’s Greenlight page is within (fiscal) 2013, so it’s squeezing by on a tiny technicality and a huge amount of ambition. This list of stand-outs is about giving us hope, after all, so here’s to hope that this game makes it.
In MáK, the name of the game is experimentation. You assemble blocks to make all sorts of creations that will help you move between asteroids with a small bubble of gravity surrounding them. The single player mode hasn’t been detailed too much, but it seems like it will be a lot of exploration through physics-based puzzle-solving. There will be a simple mess-around mode as well, though, so you can see just how much you can bother your friends with your clever creations and mess theirs up in the process. Or, I guess you could work together too, or whatever.
Despite this horror game being called Routine, it looks like it is anything but. I’m not that into scary stuff or the style of 80′s sci-fi, but the trio at Lunar Software seems to be taking the best of both those inspirations and making a truly spooky moon-mission-gone-wrong experience. Removing the HUD, adding an aiming deadzone, and making death permanent will hopefully add to the tension that I so enjoy in this genre. Randomizing item placement around the dark and delphic base sounds like a good way to turn the player into bait for whatever it is that haunts the halls of this lunar trap, whatever it is that’s hinted at in this game’s description.
Details on this one are sparse. Everything I know about this game could fit on a floppy disc, which this game features several of, but I think I prefer it that way. The info in the above paragraph and that trailer are enough to sell me and, if M. Night Shyamalan films have taught me anything about horror, it’s that the less you know, the better.
Follow Levi as he anxiously awaits his most anticipated games, indie and otherwise, @bigGUNSfowler